HRC grant awarded to improve diabetes self management in young people

Diabetes is a major preventable disease. Lifestyle measures such as correct diet, regular exercise, and weight management are key supportive tools to controlling Type 2 diabetes and for reducing the risk of complications. In many cases Type 2 diabetes self-management also relies on controlling blood glucose levels through regular self-monitoring and taking medication.
The number of young people being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes is increasing. Many young people with this condition struggle to manage their Type 2 diabetes. We believe diabetes education and technology-based tools could be used to support this population to better manage their disease. So called “games for health” are designed to entertain players as they educate, train, or change health-related behaviours.

Our team has developed a prototype serious mobile game for health, ‘Diabetic Mario’ to promote knowledge of the interaction between physical activity and diet with blood glucose, and of blood glucose monitoring in young people.

We have already piloted the game in a small number of healthy children aged 9-13 years. Overall, children found the game to be fun, engagement was high, and they felt part of a creative and dynamic game community. The game was found to enhance the children’s knowledge of healthy diet and lifestyle choices.

A study led by Professor Ralph Maddison and funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, is therefore planned to modify the serious game for use with adolescents and young adults with Type 2 Diabetes and to assess its acceptability, particularly to Māori, Pacific and Indian adolescents and young adults who are disproportionately affected by Type 2 Diabetes at younger ages.



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